3 Qualities of Successful Feminine Leaders

Successful, FeminineIf your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. – John Quincy Adams

I love this leadership quote by John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States. How are you being a leader? The most successful and popular leaders open the way, set the tone and then allow others to blossom with them.  

Below I share 3 qualities of successful women leaders. Some are easier than others to sustain. It’s simple to say “I am a leader.” How can we create a daily practice of BEING a leader?  Below you will find what I believe to be the quintessential qualities of successful women leaders along with practical action steps you can take today to step into being a leader.

  1. Be generous.

If you are a new business owner just starting out, be generous with your time. Meet with people, go to networking events, volunteer, join your local Chamber of Commerce or the local PTA if you have children. Generosity and involvement can quickly build your reputation and increase your credibility as a local business owner and community leader.

Generously share your information and ideas with others, information is powerful and can help others grow. Always lead with service and give your best stuff away for free.

If you can afford it, be generous with your money. This could take the form of charitable donations to your favorite non-profit or small gifts to clients and employees. Hand-written notes, shared articles or homemade cookies are all ways to be generous.

As a leader, there are additional ways of expressing generosity besides time and money. Say thank you often to clients, family members, friends and others who support or help you in your business. Be generous with praise. Take someone out to lunch, just because you like them and not because you want something from them. Make an effort each week to practice being generous! Something as simple as a fifteen-minute conversation with your spouse, child, or business partner can make them feel special.

Practical Action Step: Give someone in your circle of friends, family or colleagues a gift this week just because you can. Find a small token of appreciation and point out to someone what a difference they have made in your life.

  1. Be visionary.

Want a definition of a visionary? Research Richard Branson, head of the Virgin Group with over 400 companies! His estimated net worth is over $4 billion dollars. He accomplished this by being visionary, by seeing possibility everywhere and by having a knack for connecting with people. He is dyslexic and was not a great student but he did not let that stop him.

He also has a knack for seeing where there is a need and how he can fill that need. This is one of the biggest se­crets to success: are you creating something that people want? Whether you are a business coach, doctor, artist, writer or builder of widgets and gadgets, are you filling a need? If you are building a brick and mortar storefront to sell products, have you done your research, is there a need for what you have to sell?

So many of us are passionate and enthusiastic. We have powerful gifts and big dreams, we have great ideas we want to share with the world. It takes all of these elements to get us off of the ground but we will fail miserably if we are not meeting a need for a specific group of people.

To be visionary is to find the place where your passion and the world’s hunger meet, as Fredrick Buechner says. You can’t feed hamburgers to a crowd of vegetarians. Think paper clips and Post-It notes, two revolu­tionary products that simplified our life. Think Chicken Soup for the Soul that fed us powerful, positive stories we didn’t even know we needed. Where can you be more visionary?

Practical Action Step:  You may not think you are a visionary thinker but I bet that you are. As human beings we all have the capacity to be innovative, imaginative and creative. Start looking for ways that you can be of service to your community. Where could you be serving them differently than anyone else? Also start looking, listening and dreaming of ideas, keep a journal of your insights. The more we practice brainstorming and creative problem solving, the more visionary we become.

  1. Be creative.

We talked about being visionary now let’s talk about creativity. When I say be creative, I am not saying go take a painting class, cook or dig in the garden although these are all fun activi­ties. Creativ­ity in business is about two things: offering information and ideas in new ways that people have not experienced before and problem solving.

Something the visionary knows is that you can sell the same product as someone else, but you have to do it in a way the looks, feels, smells, sounds and tastes different. Have you looked in the freezer aisle lately at how many different brands of vanilla ice cream that you can buy? Not all vanilla ice cream is created equal, neither is chocolate or butter pecan or other popular flavors. When I think of ice cream, I think of two brands that stick out for me: Bluebell Ice Cream which is a Texas-made product and Ben & Jerry’s. They are both memorable for their marketing and for making themselves appear unique in a very crowded marketplace.

Think Chick-fil-A and their cow campaign. Who doesn’t giggle and smile when they see a commercial or billboard with cows holding up “Eat more chikin” signs? The cows even have their own names and website biographies. Where can you be creative in your marketing, messag­ing and delivery of your products?

Also, where can you be creative in your problem solving? Not every problem gets solved the same way. We will not get new results if we keep repeating the same actions over and over. Some­times stepping away from a problem is the best way to find a solution – dig in the garden, go for a walk, take a nap, dance to your favorite music, pray, meditate, whatever works for you. Free your mind to roam and I guarantee a solution is more likely to appear than if you keep attacking it with a bat­tering ram.

Successful leaders know that their way is not the only way. Be willing to listen to possible creative solutions from those around you: friends, employees, your spouse, a colleague. Get fresh input and be willing to make changes.

Practical Action Step: When was the last time you used a mind map, vision board or other creative problem solving tool? Your action step for creativity is to get outside your normal busi­ness planning parameters and take a new approach: mind map, vision board, gardening, journal­ing, meditating or talking to someone could all be suggestions. Pick one and give it a try. My favorite method of creative problem solving is walking on the beach and talking challenges through with my husband.

Minette Riordan About Minette Riordan

Dr. Minette Riordan has been called a modern Renaissance woman. She is a lover of art, poetry and mythology and a complete geek who digs discussing business strategy. One of her core values is continuous improvement; she is a seeker, wanderer and adventurer who loves dragons and coffee. Most days you can find her supporting her creative clients to build profitable businesses. And on other days you can find her in her art studio covered in paint. To follow her creative journey visit www.MinetteRiordan.com